Parks department seeks community partners for memorial tree program

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

Seymour Parks and Recreation Department took this Chinese proverb to heart by planting trees in celebration of Earth Day on Wednesday.

Employees couldn’t have asked for a better day with blue skies and warm sunshine providing the perfect backdrop to work outside and give back to the environment.

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It also was a good way to forget about the COVID-19 pandemic, even if just for a little while, said Stacy Findley, parks director.

Workers planted 10 trees purchased from Schneider Nursery in Seymour with five going in Shields Park and the other five in Gaiser Park. Also helping out was Seymour Water Pollution Control, which provided a backhoe to dig the holes for the trees.

“I think the staff were happy to focus on something other than COVID-19,” Findley said.

Four different varieties of trees were chosen by the department. They were October glory maple, London plane, autumn blaze maple and the tulip poplar — the official state tree of Indiana.

“They are more mature and much larger than saplings that are typically planted,” Findley said. “We purchased older trees so they would survive the weather. Planting trees on Earth Day is symbolic because of the focus on conservation and protecting the environment.”

The trees are replacing ones that have been removed in the last year. The city cuts down up to 20 trees annually in the parks due to damage from disease, insects such as the emerald ash borer and storms.

“Our current goal is to plant one tree for every tree that has to be removed,” Findley said.

The department believes maintaining a large tree canopy is important for many reasons.

“Trees can help with drainage, flooding and erosion issues, and planting trees in newly developed areas can help with noise reduction,” Findley said.

By providing shade, trees also can provide natural cooling and improve property value by up to 20%, creating more desirable living conditions, she added.

To plant even more trees, the parks department is looking to the community for help.

“In the future, with community partnerships, we would like to plant two trees for every tree that has to be cut down,” Findley said.

Through a memorial tree program, businesses, individuals, families and organizations may donate funds to purchase a tree in remembrance of an employee, loved one or member.

Anyone interested in contributing to the cause can email Findley at [email protected].

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The Seymour Parks and Recreation Department is looking for community partners interested in donating to a memorial tree program.

Any business, individual, family or organization can donate funds to purchase a tree in remembrance of an employee, loved one or member.

Anyone interested in contributing, can email Stacy Findley, parks director, at [email protected].